The Holy Foreskin Obsession May 31, 2011

The Holy Foreskin Obsession

Bart Centre is the man getting all sorts of press — again — for his Eternal Earth-Bound Pets service, where (for a fee) he promises to take care of your pets after the Rapture. Brilliant.

His latest book (under the alias “Dromedary Hump”) is called The Atheist Camel Rants Again!

Bart’s giving away a free copy of his book, but first, here’s an excerpt from a chapter entitled “The Holy Foreskin Obsession”:

It seems that Jesus’ foreskin holds a revered place in Christian lore. Who’d have guessed that a religion whose followers are so… uh… “flaccid” when it comes to their icon’s Judaic roots and practices would have such a fixation? But for over fourteen hundred years there has been a rather unhealthy affinity for Jesus’ penis tip. Call it “holy penis envy.”

On January first each year, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Eastern Orthodox Catholics observe the holiday called “Circumcision of Christ.” This holy day marks Jesus’ submission to Judaic law and tradition. In accordance with Jewish law, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. The Catholic Church decided back in 1969 to quit observing the fourteen-century-old holy day of the “Feast of Circumcision” (appetizing), and instead decided to rename it “Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God” day. Small wonder, given the former feast’s implied menu.

If that weren’t bizarre enough, there have been at least twelve official and unofficial Jesus foreskin relics revered and passed along among churches, popes, and devout nobles throughout Europe from the ninth through the sixteenth century. These were the Holy Prepuces. They kept them in special jeweled boxes, “whipping them out” only for very special occasions and celebrations… each church and owner attesting that only their prepuce was the one true foreskin of their Lord and Savior. Think I’m making this up? Here’s a “tip” for you: Google “Holy Prepuce.”

In fact, medieval paintings depicting the circumcision of Jesus were a hot commodity in the good old days.

Well, things got so out of hand, what with all of this unseemly Jesus penis talk, that in 1900 the Catholic Church threatened excommunication for any “putz” daring to write or talk about Jesus’ holy member. The penalty became “stiffer” in 1954, when violation of the rule earned the highest level of excommunication, which included being shunned.

Unfortunately, during the Reformation and French Revolution, almost all of these penis pieces were destroyed or lost. Only one remained into the twentieth century, The Holy Prepuce of Calcata, which was “exposed,” put on display, and taken for a walk through the streets of that Italian city annually as recently as 1983. The yearly practice would probably still be going on today had they not been “shafted” by some thief who stole it, jeweled box and all. What a “dick”!

So, why this Christian “hard-on” for Jesus’ foreskin? Hey, who knows what makes Christian cultists tick. Headhunters have their shrunken heads, voodoo practitioners have their dried bats and such, and Christians favor their man-god’s manhood. I guess one could say all other religions’ relics just don’t “measure up.”

As a non-believer, I tried to equate this to some peculiar secular practice. But I never heard of anyone claiming to own Woody Allen’s, Sigmund Freud’s, or Isaac Asimov’s excess penis part. For some reason, freethinkers just aren’t “hung” up on the attraction. Maybe it’s because we aren’t “schmucks.”

I think all I need to do to get a conversation started here is say the word “Circumcision.” (Discuss!)

If you live in the U.S. and want a chance to win a signed copy of Bart’s book, just leave a comment in this thread and put the word “pumpkin” at the end of it! I’ll email you next week if you’re the winner.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Maddie

    Circumcision is male genital mutilation >.< Period.

    pumpkin

  • I agree with what Maddie said.

    pumpkin

  • Paul

    Just think of the mohel who did it! “Circumsizer of the Gods!” Now that’s marketing.

    Pumpkin.

  • Zac

    There are far too many dick jokes in that passage. And this is coming from a teenager who browsers the Internet.
    Pumpkin.

  • Camels are Swell.

    pumpkin

  • Ross

    As a former life-long Lutheran, I can assure that my family never celebrated Jesus’ circumcision.

    pumpkin.

  • ACN

    Just remember, circumscribe =/= circumcise.

    Keep your geometry and your genitals separate.

    pumpkin.

  • I was circumcised, and have no problem with it. Frankly, if all the studies showing that it reduces sexual pleasure are true, I’m better off without it; with it sex might be too much for my poor heart.

    That being said, if I do wind up having a son, he won’t be cut. It’s unnecessary at best, and unnecessary surgery is always something to be avoided, pumpkin.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (1999) stated: “Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.”

    also…what Maddie said.

    pumpkin

  • April

    The preponderance of penis puns placed in scare quotes is provoking.

    Perhaps the author should presume the reader is perceptive enough to comprehend the play on words.

  • Ron in Houston

    Once I got off the Davenport I decided to see if I could make a comment that would “snake” in anymore penis references.

    Sadly I cannot. However just think of all the fun we could have if Jesus were Roman and we had to talk about Uranus.

    Pumpkin

  • Steve

    I stumbled upon the foreskin thing a couple of days ago on Wikipedia. Never heard of it before. I was like “WTF!? How you sick do you have to be to believe in that?”

    SF is currently moving ahead in an attempt to outlaw infant circumcision

  • BrettH

    Maddie: As a man who doesn’t much appreciate having had anything removed without his permission or a good medical reason, I still think the problem with that argument is that female genital mutilation is much worse. I don’t agree with the practice and think it’s wrong, but I’d had if equating the two things ever convinced a circumcised male to think “Oh, if it’s like circumcision I guess this ‘genital mutilation’ fuss is just liberals making a fuss trying to stop harmless religion again”. They’re both wrong, but as a victim of one of them, and still think it’s fair to say that women get it worse.

    pumpkin

  • Chad

    The excess quotes are unnecessary. Consider trimming them from your puns. They stand well enough on their own. Penis.

    Pumpkin.

  • DaveS

    I think it’s ridiculous to have a perfect newborn baby boy and the first thought to be “Hey – I know! Let’s do some cosmetic surgery!!”

    Pumpkin

  • Dave Haskins

    It is time for us to give up these false gods and start taking responsibility for ourselves and our own morality. Virtually every religion asks us to do and say crazy things, like wearing sacred underwear, eating the flesh of a long dead Jew, never eating delicious bacon or even waiting in a field all night in the vain hope of seeing the mystical appearance of a “great” pumpkin.

  • I now have excess-penis-envy.

    Having been born to catholics in the 60’s, I was circumcised (just like the big J!). However, my parents didn’t even have my foreskin bronzed, let alone put on display.

    I guess I was slighted.

    pumpkin

  • mark

    I agree that female circumcision is far, far worse.
    pumpkin

  • Marguerite

    I attended a Lutheran church (ELCA) for years, and never saw a “Circumcision of Christ” festival day. It might still be on the church calendar, but I’m wondering if anyone actually still observes it.

    Also, I hope the Atheist Camel will consider producing a Kindle edition. I don’t buy paperbacks anymore (no room left on my shelves!), and when one is self-publishing, it’s easy to turn out a Kindle version!

  • I wonder, though, how much Woody Allen’s, Sigmund Freud’s, or Isaac Asimov’s foreskin (if available) would go for at auction. pumpkin

  • Claudia

    Well we’ve heard from two former Lutherans who have never celebrated any such thing, so for now I’m going to guess that reports of current Christians “obsessing” over Christs dangly bits are an exageration.

    Now, a historical obsession I would find utterly unsurprising. Not because it was his foreskin particularly though. If there was such a relic it would be the one and only relic that is a physical piece of Christs physical body. That is a head, shoulders and shard of the cross above any other relic out there. It’s not at all surprising that such a thing would be valuable, as relics value are measured largely by the importance of their deceased owners, and you don’t get more important than Jesus in Christiantiy.

    Oh and medically unneccesary surgical mutilation of infants is unethical, abusive, and should be illegal. That is all.

  • Marguerite

    Because I can’t ever resist from Googling, I checked. Wikipedia (not an entirely reliable source, I know) saith:

    It remains on most Lutheran liturgical calendars to this day, although there has been a general move to call it “The Name of Jesus.” Martin Luther preached at least one notable sermon on this feast day which is still available in his Church Postils, and up until the late 1970s, Lutheran hymnbooks would contain several hymns relating to this subject.

    Heh… I’m kind of glad it’s no longer in hymnals. I used to be in the choir, and I can’t quite imagine singing about Jesus’ holy foreskin with a straight face.

  • smittypap

    Thanks for the chance to win a book, pumpkin

  • Chris

    I find it amusing that an organization so ‘anal’ about sex is obsessed with a 2000 year old foreskin o.O

    pumpkin

  • ludovico

    “Holy Smegma, Pumpkin!”

  • Smidget

    I have nothing to say about circumcision. I have plenty to say about the holy foreskin business, but I think it can be summed up nicely with:

    “EWW!!! Effin bloody gross, dude! Who wants to have, let alone revere, a decaying bit of penis skin? What’s more: that most certainly did not belong to Jesus, but more likley taken from a dude named Larry in 1372 or something. Effin crazies and their lunacy. I didn’t need to know this nasty sh!t.”

    Also, pumpkin.

  • I hate circumcision.

    Pumpkin

  • You can hump without a bump! Pumpkin.

  • Marcie

    Thank goodness I had daughters!
    Pumpkin.

  • Kristena

    Ohhhhh holy foreskin, we feast to Chriiiist’s peeeenis…

    Sung to the tune of Oh Holy Night, Pumpkin

  • thatblackgirl

    No one (male or female) should be circumcised at birth. That decision should be made for one’s self at whatever age of majority is the law in their society.

    Besides, I’ve never been with an uncut man, and I’m seriously curious. But I’m also not that much of a roundheel to go around asking men if they’re cut and if they’ll sleep with me….

  • cbc

    The simple fact that female circumcision is more physically and emotionally traumatizing should not be used to dismiss the fact the male circumcision is genital mutilation. Both are terrible practices, and it’s increasingly frustrating to me to have a discussion of male circumcision brushed off with the “FGM is worse” dismissal.

    pumpkin

  • JD

    I was raised Christian and I’ve never heard of this. I wasn’t raised in those traditions though. It’s a lot like religion though, you’re given a book of words, and you’re told to accept those words without any proof of provenance. All the relics are the same way, though my upbringing forsook traditions not found in the Bible, and relics are among those things that were rejected or ignored.

    I’d say it is probably not mutilation if performed right, but then there’s that caveat. I do consider it unnecessary surgery, and often not performed in a sanitary way, and accidents can and do happen. It sounds like the medical reasons for circumcision can be bypassed with proper regular cleaning.

  • I would prefer if the dick jokes weren’t all in quotation marks. It comes across as a bit condescending. Pumpkin.

  • sandchigger

    What Parsley said, pumpkin.

  • bwahahahaha

    pumpkin

  • That’s marvellous!

    Pumpkin 🙂

  • I wasn’t too happy with all the puns in quotes, either – I kept wondering if the rest of the book was like this, it was going to get old fast. Anyhow, I knew about the “holy foreskin” relics – what I didn’t know is that they’re all now lost or destroyed. Outside of the morbidness of them as a whole, some of the containers themselves were fairly interesting works of art in their own right. Its a shame that such artifacts of human civilization have been lost – strange, crazy, weird, they were a part of our history.

    Pumpkin

  • Scout

    As a teen, I babysat for a kid who’s parents were Greek; no “turtleneck”! Was I surprised! That was the day I realized there was more out there to be seen in the wide, wide world.

    Pumpkin

  • Casey

    I have never heard about this and am at a loss for words, except this one:

    Pumpkin.

  • Cherie

    Strange thing for people to be obsessed with. LOL

    Pumpkin

  • Douglas Kirk

    Does anyone know of a scientific source of information for circumcision? I’m looking for something that fairly talks about costs and advantages without being religious or unnecessarily alarmist.

    I don’t need it currently, but I know when the time comes I will have a huge fight with my girlfriend over her desire to have our male children circumcized because “it’s just normal, I don’t want our kids ostracized.” (I don’t know who she thinks is going to be staring at our son’s penis and judging him for it… but I would love some hard information for her objections rather than my “ick” feeling)

    Pumpkin

  • rosie

    i also agree that female circumcision is far worse than male circumcision. in so many ways. for one thing, many girls die from it.
    never heard of a baby boy dying afterwards.
    pumpkin

  • Craig

    That is seriously creepy. Being raised Catholic, I was exposed to the whole “relic” thing and was always weirded out by it, but I’d never heard of this.

    pumpkin

  • Ken

    Rosie, you have now: http://www.canada.com/cityguides/ottawa/story.html?id=cb3b8281-4134-46ba-85d3-b076072bda75&k=25810

    A quick google search will bring up many more cases.

    Those saying that male circumcision is not as bad as female circumcision, I curious as to why you believe this. Many, many women are circumcised and suffer minor long term effects, like many men. This doesn’t make the behavior right for either gender. Aside from arguing about which is “worse,” the real question is what is right.

    The bottom line is that male circumcision involves cutting off a perfectly normal and useful piece of a child’s genitalia. That is clearly genital mutilation. Circumcision for either gender should not be allowed without consent of the patient and parents should not be allowed to provide this consent for their child without well-define medical need.

    I invite those who have never witnessed a modern, infant circumcision to watch video with their sound on (graphic content warning) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=013PdUzvWpo&has_verified=1.

    Pumpkin

  • Margy

    What Joshua Zelinsky said.

    My brother was circumsized as an infant, continued to bleed for several days, and had to be rushed back to the hospital. What an unnecessary, risky, and traumatizing event for an infant!

    Pumpkin.

  • MrCheese

    Freud’s foreskin made in to a cigar band, that would be amazing.

  • Ms. Crazy Pants

    Bwahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

    Holy Crap!!

    Oops, guess that’s a topic for a different day.

    I agree that any child mutilation should be banned. That includes any genital mutilation or even piercing the ears. Any elective plastic surgery should be banned on people under the age of 18 as well. There’s no good reason for a teenager to get breast implants, a nose job, or liposuction.

    The only plastic surgery allowed for the underage should be for repairing deformities, accidents, or diseases. Basically, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

    pumpkin

  • Joey

    I loved the first book…can’t wait to read the second one.
    Pumpkin

  • Claudia

    @Douglas,

    You could link her to this site, operated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, where they say they “do not recommend circumcision” though they do leave it up to parents.

    Remind her that though risks are low for medical circumcisions, they are not nonexistent, and that any amount of risk of permanent injury (particularly to genitals) is too high for a procedure that is being done for social convention.

    As to her saying “it’s just normal” you can counter with “not anymore“. Fewer than half of American baby boys are getting pieces of themselves chopped off these days. Remind her that in addition to becoming the minority type of penis in the locker-room, he will be the crushing minority in the world, as almost no European men are circumcised (funny, hardly any AIDS here either) and the same goes for the majority of men the world over.

    Incidentally, I certainly hope your girlfriend doesn’t see “it’s just normal” as a good argument, because otherwise I would expect she’s gonna want your kids to be religious, too.

  • Rebecca

    Never understood why god loved to have his/her/its male sheeple circumcised in the first place. It’s stupid and barbaric. Oops! I think I just answered my own question so to speak!
    Pumpkin

  • Ryan Booth

    Glad to see Camel face instead of Camel Toe.

    Pumpkin

  • StaticMotion

    Rosie, I know for sure that serious infections are rare, but not ruled out, and deaths do happen in rare cases. (Mostly, those stem from orthodox Jewish rituals.) Albeit, I have to admit that I don’t have links handy.

    Douglas, sadly, no links to studies, but no respectable medical body I’m aware of promotes male circumcision. Also, data never showed convincing benefits to support it. And, here in the EU, it’s (almost universally) just not done. The only medical indication I’m aware of is the rather rarePhimosis (NSFW).

    I recently stumbled upon this documentation about the tradition in Jewish communities. I haven’t watched it yet, just skipped into parts of it. But, it shows an infant circumcision towards the end. I didn’t mind assisting in the OR way back when, but seeing this made me cringe, hard.
    I guess analgesics might be used in a hospital, though.

    Furthermore, the history of the practice in English speaking countries is also quite interesting.
    I don’t think “to control ‘masturbatory insanity'” speaks for the practice.

    Personally, I see absolutely no reason to do it. Why remove the (not only mechanical) protection for the glans (NSFW)?

  • Tiffany Ewigleben

    I found out my youngest brother is uncircumcised so my middle brother didn’t feel alone, because it wasn’t offered when/where the middle brother was born.

    I feel I know too much about my family sometimes.

    Pumpkin.

  • Steve

    Unless you subscribe to the idea that possibly having less sensation and you thus take longer to orgasm is an advantage in bed, there are no real advantages.

    One big reason circumcision used to be so common in the English-speaking world is that having a foreskin requires you to regularly wash your penis. So sex-shamed Christians thought that having kids handle their genitals that way would more easily lead them to masturbate.

  • PCE

    What does the Bible say about circumcision?

    “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.”
    -Galatians 6:15

    How can you miss this?

    Pumpkin

  • greg robertson

    My circumcision was a lot like the last time I drank too much Jaegermeister. I dont even remember being there but they say I was naked,crying and slimy until someone whipped out a knife and I was bleeding. I hear that it ended on a good note because I woke up in the arms of a half-naked woman who really seemed to like me. What a pumpkin.

  • Flah the Heretic Methodist

    I would love to see the results of a greater “relic count”. Wonder how many duplications of frauds exist out there? Pumpkin

  • AxeGrrl

    cbc wrote:

    The simple fact that female circumcision is more physically and emotionally traumatizing should not be used to dismiss the fact the male circumcision is genital mutilation. Both are terrible practices, and it’s increasingly frustrating to me to have a discussion of male circumcision brushed off with the “FGM is worse” dismissal.

    Exactly! and I see it happen all the time….

  • Lars

    Apparently the dictionary definition of ‘mutilation’ involves making a body part (a)near unusable or at least (b)severely disfigured.
    While male circumcision could arguably fall under (b), female genital mutilation most definitely falls under (a).
    Regardless of that I find the idea of infant circumcision disgusting (I also feel slightly uneasy when I see a one-year-old with pierced ears.)
    It might however be sensible to not use the word ‘mutilation’ for male circumcision as that has the potential of belittling what female genital mutilation is. Just a thought.
    Not saying pumpkin, as I live in Canada.

  • jose

    If a grown up wants to chop his foreskin off, let him. A baby on the other hand can’t consent, so it’s not right. I think the same argument can be applied to baby ear piercing as well.

  • Did you know Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world?

    He found he could get round quicker by taking a short cut.

    I’ll get me coat

  • wendy

    dimly remembering catholic school…

    an “ejaculation” or “aspiration” is a short prayer one can mindlessly repeat all day long.

    an example is “come holy spirit“.

    of course, the nuns never told us the part about chopping jesus’ weenie. but now, all of this is starting to make a bit of sense.

    not to mention pumpkin.

  • Minus

    I think only adults should be circumcised. And it should be done in the traditional manner – with a sharp stone.

    Pumpkin

  • Pax

    I’d heard some of the fascination with relics, but never about this!

    Pumpkin

  • Trace

    Most people where I grew up do not circumcise their boys. My dad, me and my boy are intact.

    Pumpkin?

  • Lee

    Holy Prepuce, Batman! The Joker is a dick!

    I tried.

    Pumpkin.

  • Hugh

    Jesus was (well) hung on a cross yet he “rose” on the third day. Clearly you wouldn’t expect circumcision to take after just one attempt. That’s why he had to be snipped 12 times. Pumpkin!

  • Sam

    Pumpkin!… Oh!… I do not live in U.S. 😀

  • Kris

    Wow, I’m not sure I could make it through a book with such a high density of puns… That said, you can never have too much pumpkin

  • Freemage

    Crazy ol’ Doc Kellogg, meanwhile, was advocating circumcision in young boys (but not infants), because that wouldn’t serve as a suitable means to deter youngsters from masturbating–he wanted them to suffer pain for playing with the peepee. Think about THAT with your cornflakes.

    Pumpkin.

  • bigjohn756

    I still have my foreskin, but I have never seen one on a

    pumpkin

  • Bill

    “69 comments”!!! What timing! Does this mean that if I rub this comment thread, it will turn into a suitcase?
    8—–>

    Pumpkin

  • fiddler

    Ritual genital mutilation is a really sad practice that needs to come to an end. My view on the matter in a short rant: http://obnoxi.us/uncategorized/circumcise-elsewhere/

    Pumpkin

  • ATL-Apostate

    I wish I had kept my foreskin. From what I hear, it makes masturbation easier. I wouldn’t have had to smuggle all that vaseline as a pre-teen.

    Too much information? Sorry. 🙁

    pumpkin

  • With my first son, one of my Jewish uncles was most concerned about whether or not we’d circumcise, even though I indicated we’d be raising him without religion. We’ve left the choice up to both of our sons. Although anecdotal, most doctors I’ve had any reason to discuss this with side with not circumcising (which also means I know more about my pediatrician’s son–one of my students–than I perhaps should).

    Pumpkin

  • How many times have you heard religionists complain about scientists “playing god” with a new treatment or surgery? They believe we were created in god’s image (perfect) and the first thing they want to do is hack away at the privates, thereby changing our perfection!?! What an ironic piece of

    Pumpkin!

  • Ragin’ Redhead

    My Dad once told me of my screaming when I was cut shortly after birth. He remembered his own, at 8yrs, due to pressure of his Jewish granddad. Yet he allowed it of me, then I of my son! Such stupidity! Such insanity! Pppppumpkin!

  • This has always been my favorite commentary on circumcision; it’s a critique on an episode of The Doctors. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-Lm396q8KA

    pumpkin

  • David Capito

    I would have come here to post Atalaya’s video… instead…

    pumpkin

  • I like Pumpkin

  • Tim

    Awesome another book, loved the first one!

    Pumpkin!

  • BrettH

    cbc and AxeGrrl: I certainly didn’t mean to sound like I was dismissing anything. With me it’s just a matter of strategy. When you’re trying to get people to stop cutting pieces off of their children in the form of male circumcision, I don’t think it will help to compare it to FGM. I think comparing the two makes circumcision look like a minor problem and makes it easier for someone else to dismiss it.

  • Brit

    Agree with BrettH.

    pumpkin

  • JenV

    I had a whole bit typed out about why our son is circumcised, but I thought better of it. Instead, I’ll just say,”Pumpkin!”

  • Ash

    Clearly this post needs more dick jokes.

    pumkin

  • Mel

    I guess they removed it to make anointing the head of the king easier. And to make room for pumpkins.

  • Deepak Shetty

    that was a hilarious excerpt.

  • Bill M.

    ‘Feast of the Circumcision’ must have been used by those that wanted more food for themselves. Haha, I can’t believe that our foreskins are surgically removed because of a ‘Holy’ book.

    Pumpkin

  • Rike D.

    Every time I come here, I learn something new!
    pumpkin

  • Male circumcision cuts down infection rates both in the circumcised male AND his female partners, so I wouldn’t say that there is “no medical benefit”.

  • STP

    As a former catholic, growing up in catholic schools, attending church way too often, we never ever discussed anything that had to do with penises (peni?) let alone Jesus’s. As a matter of fact, we were totally discouraged from discussing any body parts whatsoever…lest we might start to think about them…..pumpkin

  • Michael

    I heard about the San Francisco movement to outlaw male circumcision. What I really want to know is why it’s limited to male circumcision.
    It’s already being turned into a 1st Amendment debate by the Prepuce-fetishists.

    To say that bans against genital mutilation are “directed” against jews is obnoxious and wrong. Penis-snipping specialists make money off of plenty of non-jewish clients who are too ill-informed to turn them down during a very special and frightening time of their lives when new parents depend on the experts around them.

    Not to mention the future issues we’ll have with female genital mutilation if abusing newborn children is protected as religious expression.

    Hands off my junk, Pumpkin!

  • Larry Meredith

    whenever I mention that male circumcision isn’t that bad, there’s always a bunch of fellow atheists that want to compare it to female circumcision or cutting off toes or noses.

    It’s not the same. Male circumcision causes no adverse reactions later in life. It doesn’t effect sex drive or performance or cause disease. It’s just a bit of excess skin. But anti-theists seem to really be the ones to hold up the foreskin as such an incredible part of the human body.

    It boggles my mind how people can be so accepting of abortion, like it’s no big deal even if it has a heartbeat and limbs, but then claim that circumcision is a disgusting act of mutilation that should be banned.

    Is circumcision necessary? Not at birth, no. But foreskin isn’t a necessity either. In fact, circumcision can prevent medical issues (phimosis) and hygiene issues (smegma) later in life. I don’t really mind abortion or circumcision. Although it is creepy when religious people use circumcision as a point of celebration and a traditional event. It’s really not the awful dicing and slicing up act of humiliation that a lot of my fellow atheists want to portray it as.

    Pumpkin

  • Dan W

    Wow, this was an aspect of Christian mythology that I hadn’t known about before. How strange. I love how many puns are in that passage of that book.

    Regarding circumcision, it seems to be an unnecessary procedure today. People tend to bathe more often nowadays than in prior ages, so hygeine involving the foreskin shouldn’t be much of a problem. I’ve yet to see any good reasons why circumcisions should be done anymore.

    pumpkin

  • Rajesh Kher

    If there is any justice and truth in Jesus and he being morally right then no question He has to be a Eunuch to encompass both the male and female. So please no foreskin hence. QED

  • John

    Jesus’s foreskin features prominently in the book “Choke” by Chuck Palahniuk

    …pumpkin…

  • BrettH

    Larry Meredith: I’ve heard that circumcision has a mild negative effect on the enjoyment of sex, that has even been used as a point in favor of it in the past among the religious.
    What frustrates me isn’t that I’ve been permanently damaged in some huge way, it’s that I’ve been permanently damaged in a small way without my consent for no good reason. It’s my body, it shouldn’t need to be a big deal before my rights start mattering.

  • Kayla

    That can’t really be a holiday, can it? Christ’s circumcision?

    …[one quick google search later] Oh for goodness’ sake, it is! I’ve learned something today that cannot be forgotten. Fantastic.

    Pumpkin.

  • wilsim

    It’s sad to see that circumcision is still practiced widely in America, so much so that an uncircumcised male of almost any age often meets with expressions of disgust when his penis is spotted. Or striped.

    Pumpkin.

  • AxeGrrl

    BrettH wrote:

    What frustrates me isn’t that I’ve been permanently damaged in some huge way, it’s that I’ve been permanently damaged in a small way without my consent for no good reason. It’s my body…

    This, to me, is what it all comes down to.

    The fact is, there are some men out there who wish that they were still intact; some men who feel some degree of resentment towards their parents for making that decision for them….

    To me, that outweighs any minor potential benefit.

  • It doesn’t really bother me that I’ve been circumcised, but I won’t be passing on that ‘tradition’. It’s founded in dogma and should be put to an end.

    The book sounds hilarious though. Can’t wait to read it, free or not!

    pumpkin

  • Mej

    As Hitchens put it in his debate with Tony Blair, only in religion could someone say, “Look at this beautiful newborn boy. Now hand me the sharp rock.”

    Pumpkin

  • Arctic Ape

    This is an embarrassing minor detail of Christianity. As Claudia pointed out, some Christians in history have been understandably thrilled that there is an actual piece of Jesus’ human body left behind on Earth. On the other hand, Christians generally find circumcision as a creepy alien practice and the penis as an icky body part. So many churches offically recognize the importance of Jesus’ circumcision but carefully avoid promoting it to the wider audiences. The result, as many people here have witnessed, is that very few Christians even know of the Prepuce cult.

    Now, if Christianity had retained circumcision as a religious ritual, the Prepuce cult would be a huge thing. Also, it would much more difficult to critisize male circumcision in Western culture.

  • Rich Wilson

    I tried to leave this one alone as I’ve been called a misogynistic troll for saying basically what cbc said. And pointing out that, no, it doesn’t “grow back”. Seriously. Someone thought male circumcision wasn’t a big deal because it ‘grows back’.

    I honestly wouldn’t call it unbiased, but http://www.drmomma.org has a lot of information on circumcision, and will even send out a packet of information. http://www.drmomma.org/2011/05/queens-baby-dies-on-table-during.html is a tragic example of death by circumcision.

    If ANYone had suggested cutting my baby, I would have a had a serious mama bear reaction. FGM is illegal in the US, and MGM should be too.

  • Hemant…thanks for posting that excerpt.

    To those who took offense at my liberal use of quotes in this one chapter, point taken.

    I can assure you that they are not predominant throughout the 100 essays. I’d have had to be a complete scrot [no quotation marks] to do that.

  • Bart is my hero. *hits golf ball* Fore! Skin Oh, and pumpkin

  • Herb

    Ouch!!

    Pumpkin

  • bjornmuir

    I was circumcised at age seven. It was recommended as a treatment for re-occurring yeast infections. Due to the ignorance of my parents concerning the proper care of foreskin (aka using soap), they allowed my cock to be mutilated. It was by far the worst experience of my life and has left me with a mental trauma I fear I will never be able to live down.
    Circumcision is absolutely genital mutilation and should not be tolerated.

    Whenever I hear people parrot that study that said it cuts infection rates for HIV, I want to puke.
    If you are that worried about it, use a condom. I hear its near 100% effective. It’s certainly better than a 2000 year old method to prevent yeast infections invented by some desert tribe who had yet to discover soap.

  • “In accordance with Jewish law, Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth.” If you believe the bible, that is. And the Feast is on January 1 because that is the eighth day after Christmas. I’ve read some speculation that Jesus was not actually Jewish, but followed some Egyptian gnostic sect. Apparently the region was much more religiously diverse than the bible would have us believe. Some evidence for any of it would be good.

    @ParsleyVictoious: “Frankly, if all the studies showing that it reduces sexual pleasure are true, I’m better off without it; with it sex might be too much for my poor heart.” Yet oddly enough, the cardiac wards of the rest of the developed world are not filled with men at death’s door from too much pleasure. So many men say what you say – that being circumcised puts them on the brink of something unpleasant – that that in itself may be a count against it.

    @NoYourGod: “Having been born to catholics in the 60?s, I was circumcised” The Catholic church is officially against all but medically necessary circumcision, but you are by no means alone.

    @Larry Meredith: let me guess, you don’t remember having your foreskin, do you? “X is worse than Y” is not an argument for Y.

    @Douglas Kirk: The Intactivism Pages “This site does not pretend to be “balanced”…[It] does attempt to tell the truth about circumcision, and not overstate the case against it.”

    The passion to cut babies’ genitals just illustrates (again) Steven Weinberg’s “For good people to do evil – that takes religion.”

    I’m not in the USA, so watermelon

  • Tim

    Can’t think of a comment.

    Pumpkin.

  • Ashley

    None of my children will be circumcised. As a woman who has been with both types of Penis, I can honestly say I prefer the natural. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

  • Hang on, Jesus had how many foreskins? Twelve? Did it grow back each time or something? I thought that the water into wine thing was the first miracle but a regenerating foreskin is much more interesting.

    What do they do with them when they’ve lopped them off? Nail them to the wall?

    Never mind that eleven or more of them may well have been fakes

  • SisyphusRocks

    The double entendres did not need scare quotes! If you didn’t get it, you didn’t get it. Agreeing with others, I am cut and my son is not. I was not hung up with my son looking the same as me, and we will have an honest conversation about it when the time comes.

    That said, I am all for reviving this celebration. Cheerios for breakfast and calamari for dinner!!

    pumpkin

  • mokolembembe

    Bart Centre basically cut-and-pasted all that info on the Holy Foreskin straight from the wikipedia page. C’mon, Bart, you can be more creative/less lazy than that.

  • Morgan

    My fiance says he would want to circumcise any son we may have, mainly on the basis that he is himself. I still don’t know how to feel about it; the practicality of it is nil but the social aspects may come come into play (the area where we live is predominantly circumcised). It’s definitely something that will require a lot of thought when/if the time comes.

    Pumpkin!

  • I’m soooo excited for your new book!!! If it’s anything like the first…no doubt it will be AWESOME! YOU ROCK!!!!

    pumpkin

  • Agstryker_18

    Hi Morgan, I know this was a while ago but I figured I would reply anyway. I alway’s tell people to research statistics and not to presume anything. The numbers speak for themselves, circumcision in the united states has staggered tremendously and is now under 50% of the past decades generations. I work in a hospital as a pre-med student and we have a poster up in the hall with a warning from the surgeon general stating that circumcision is the cause of over 120 deaths a year.

    With that said, even if non of this was true, you should inform your husband/fiance, that to amputate a healthy organ from a defenseless infant in the name of social stigmatism is simply fascism and only fosters the ignorance of those who still remain too simple minded or arrogant to see the error of their thinking. 

    Adam